Aide to Militant Shiite Cleric Held After U.S.-Iraqi Raid
BAGHDAD, Jan. 19 — A senior aide to the Shiite cleric Moktada al-Sadr was detained here in a joint American-Iraqi raid before dawn on Friday, Iraqi and American officials said, in the latest high-profile arrest of a Shiite militia member.
The aide, Abdel Hadi al-Daraji, a powerful cleric whose official position is as a spokesman for Mr. Sadr but who also is accused of running a Mafia-style crime empire in northeast Baghdad, was arrested in a mosque close to his house in the neighborhood of Baladiyad. He was detained with two of his guards. A third was shot dead in the raid.
The American military did not identify Mr. Daraji by name, saying only that it had captured “an illegal armed-group leader,” and that he was suspected of having been involved in “the organized kidnapping, torture and murder of Iraqi civilians.” A spokesman for Mr. Sadr confirmed that Mr. Daraji was the aide who was arrested and denied the charges of criminal activity.